Taking airguns abroad from the UK

Discussion in 'Tips, tricks and tutorials' started by RobF, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
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    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Club:
    Parkstone Gun Club, South Dorset FTC, Southampton Buccaneers
    Ok, as I've now broken the seal on this, I thought it would be useful to stick the method down in writing.

    1) Check what you need in terms of licensing wherever you are going... many countries have different requirements for licensing for airguns.

    2) Check the airline takes airguns. Most large ones do, but I can expect budget ones having a problem or charging a lot. You will need to notify them in advance in any case. You also should turn up with plenty of time spare. Often telling check-in staff that you are carrying will prompt them to sort the paperwork out ahead of check-in even opening, as they know it can take a while.

    3) Be prepared to pay extra baggage, each way. From October British Airways will be charging £50 each way for instance, regardless if it's sporting goods or not.

    4) You need a lockable case, that can take your gun with ease and survive baggage handling. I would recommend a Peli or Storm case. Softer plastic cases might allow too much flex. For the USA you need a specific type of lock which can be opened by their customs, but check where you are flying to as to their locking requirements.

    5) Documentation from an RFD or your manufacturer stating your gun is sub 12ft-lb is advisable. I didn't need it, but official paperwork always helps if needed. There are different handling conditions at Terminal 5 for airguns that don't require a license. For a firearm you need to go through customs with the gun, for an airgun you don't.

    6) Pack your gun so that it can be examined easily. Although elaborate packing might disuade close inspection, it will be a hassle if you do need to have your gun examined. Pellets should be in your main luggage (not hand luggage). Your gun should be empty of air. However you may or may not have to prove this, and the increase in pressure from ground to air is only 1 bar in addition.

    8) Upon return you will most likely have your guns awaiting you at the red channel or be accompanied from special baggage to that channel. Stating your gun is sub 12 often sees you waved through, but again, having good paperwork and a gun that is easily inspected could make life easier should the need to inspect arise.

    9) Along the way out and in, you will pick up baggage receipts marked Firearm. Don't lose them. The customs staff might like to check them off against their records. I don't want to imagine the consequences of what happens should you lose them.

    All in all, a bit of preparation, allowing a bit of time and showing a helpful attitude will see you through without any problems, and indeed, you may find carrying is a good way of queue jumping. I managed to book in 5 hours ahead, and on return queue jumped first class and fast baggage...
     
  2. JamesO

    JamesO Active Member

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    Dec 15, 2008
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    840
    I have taken my air rifle abroad on three different occassions now and haven't encountered any real problems. To echo what Rob has said, a little preparation, some official(ish) bits of paper and the right attitude should see you through. Just be prepared for the extra time things take.

    I thought I had lost my rifle when travelling to Germany, had I spoke a little German though I'd have been able to find my rifle easily. Remember not everyone in the world speaks English.
     
  3. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
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    Parkstone Gun Club, South Dorset FTC, Southampton Buccaneers
    Actually, that's a really good tip. Learn, or write down, what 'Air Rifle' is in the language of the country you are visiting... it can help a lot to get the point over that it's not some .50 BMG, despite what race airguns may look like to the to the uninitiated.
     
  4. nurek

    nurek Member

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    Apr 17, 2009
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    Location:
    London/Leighton Buzzard
    Club:
    Wendover ARC
    Good advice Rob!

    I have taken my airguns abroad a few times and mostly had no real problem, sometimes the customs officials can be a bit to inquisitive, so you must be patient...

    I wrote a little piece here: http://blog.whfta.org/blog/_archives/2008/9/3/3867429.html for guys travelling with airguns to UK for HFT Worlds, it might be useful to someone.

    Piotr
     

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